US & Canada

Dozens of turtles found in man's trousers at Canada border

Red-eared slider turtles are seen at an enclosure at the Manila Zoo 2012 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Among the turtles allegedly found in Mr Xu's trousers were Red-eared sliders

A Canadian man has been charged with wildlife smuggling after guards at the US border found 51 turtles in his trousers, US authorities have said.

US fish and wildlife officers tracked Kai Xu across the border between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, after receiving a tip from a postal worker.

He was stopped by Canadian border guards who found the turtles taped to his legs, prosecutors said.

Mr Xu, 26, was released on a bond on Thursday but has not entered a plea.

He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Xu was stopped at the Detroit-Windsor border

According to prosecutors, on 5 August a post office worker in Detroit called the US Fish and Wildlife Service about a parcel held for pick-up labelled "live fish keep cool".

Wildlife investigators later watched Mr Xu, who had crossed from Ontario earlier in the day, retrieve the parcel and transfer its contents into a bag, according to the federal criminal complaint.

He then disappeared between two large lorries with the bag and returned 10 minutes later.

"As he did so [an investigator] noticed irregularly shaped bulges under Xu's sweat pants on both his legs," authorities wrote.

Mr Xu drove into a tunnel linking the US and Canada at Detroit and was stopped by Canadian border guards when he left the tunnel on the Windsor, Ontario side.

The border guards searched Mr Xu's vehicle and person and found "41 turtles taped to his legs and 10 hidden between his legs", prosecutors said.

The turtles were all North American species - Eastern box turtles, Red-eared sliders and Diamondback Terrapins, according to court records.

Mr Xu was charged in a US federal court with smuggling goods from the US and trading in specimens contrary to an international convention on endangered species.

The turtles were turned over to the fish and wildlife agency.

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